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DeSantis suspends State Attorney Andrew Warren, who indicated he won't enforce abortion laws

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren on Aug. 4, 2022, pointing to comments Warren has made that he would not enforce any current or potential state laws regarding abortion or transgender health care.
Gov. Ron DeSantis
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Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren on Aug. 4, 2022, pointing to comments Warren has made that he would not enforce any current or potential state laws regarding abortion or transgender health care.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday he is suspending State Attorney Andrew Warren for refusing to enforce Florida laws.

DeSantis was surrounded by law enforcement officials during a news conference at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office when he made the announcement.

He pointed to Warren's statement that he would not enforce any current or potential state laws regarding abortion or transgender health care, as one of the reasons for the suspension.

“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis said in a news release. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida."

According to an executive order issued by DeSantis, Warren "thinks he has the authority to defy the Florida Legislature and nullify in his jurisdiction criminal laws with which he disagrees."

The order also cites Warren proclaiming "in writing that he will not prosecute individuals who provide abortions in violation of Florida's criminal laws to protect the life of the unborn child."

DeSantis appointed Susan Lopez, a Hillsborough County judge since 2021, to serve as state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit while Warren serves his suspension.

"I have the utmost trust that Judge Susan Lopez will lead the office through this transition and faithfully uphold the rule of law,” DeSantis said in the release.

Lopez previously served as assistant state attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit for more than 15 years and as staff attorney of the Second District Court of Appeal.

Under the state constitution, DeSantis has the authority to suspend state officials "for reasons of misfeasance, malfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony," according to the release.

This is a developing story. Stay with WUSF for updates.

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Carl Lisciandrello